For decades, comedians have made hay about the countless differences between men and women. While many of these distinctions can be the source of amusement, others are no laughing matter, and some can be deadly serious. A recent study of melanoma rates falls into this latter category, as it found that melanoma rates and deaths among men are rising while the rate at which women acquire the condition has largely remained stable.
The study by researchers from the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom concluded that “Over the last three decades, male deaths from melanoma were higher than female deaths in 33 countries.” The U.S. is no exception. The American Cancer Society estimates that 5,990 American men and 3,330 American women will die from melanoma in 2018.
While they were still trying to understand the exact reasons behind the higher mortality rates in men, the researchers noted that “There is evidence that suggests men are less likely to protect themselves from the sun or engage with melanoma awareness and prevention campaigns.”
The differences between the sexes as to their behavior and knowledge about exposure to the sun, use of tanning beds, and tanning in general would seem to support the idea that men engage in riskier behavior when it comes to melanoma.
For example, a survey conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology found that:
- Just 56% of men understand that there is no such thing as a healthy tan, compared to 76% of women;
- Only 54% of men know that a base tan does not protect your skin from the dangers of the sun, compared to 70% of women;
- 56% of men know that skin cancer can develop on areas of the skin not usually exposed to the sun, compared to 65% of women.
Similarly, a 2018 study from the University of Connecticut about the use of tanning beds by men suggests that male tanning behaviors are indeed riskier than those of women and that the compulsion to tan among some men mirrors other addictions. For individuals who use tanning beds before the age of 35, melanoma risk increases an astonishing 75 percent.
Men and women alike can significantly reduce the chances of melanoma by taking common-sense steps to protect their skin from harmful UV rays, including:
- Generously applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Here at Dr. Mariano Busso’s aesthetic dermatology clinic in Miami, we recommend Blue Lizard Sunscreen products. Developed in Australia, these sunscreens offer proven and effective protection.
- Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and other protective clothing when in the sun
- Seeking shade when spending long stretches in the sun
Dr. Mariano Busso: Schedule a Skin Cancer Screening Today
While melanoma can be fatal, early detection and treatment can be the key to overcoming this condition. Acclaimed Miami skin cancer doctor Dr. Mariano Busso specializes in the diagnosis of melanoma along with all other skin conditions. As a skin cancer doctor, Dr. Busso helps patients identify, target, and prevent future incidences of melanoma. Call our Miami offices today at 305-857-0144 to schedule your consultation and skin cancer screening today.